Game Review: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood
Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Players: 1 campaign, 4-8 online
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
In Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood you play as Desmond in 2012. Desmond comes from a long line of Assassins and is on the run from an organization that wants to harvest him. In order for him to have a better chance fighting back he will need an object that his ancestors left behind. Ezio is the last of Desmond’s ancestors to know the whereabouts of the object, in order to find it Desmond has to go through his memories to find where the object is hidden. After beginning this journey in Assassin’s Creed II the story picks up where it left off and you are once again roaming the streets as Ezio.
Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood is a great example of how to do the same game twice. The game takes what was great about the second one and gives you more of what you want. Because you are taking control of Ezio once again you are given all of his abilities, and all of the moves that were great in the second game. Even though mostly everything is the same there are some great new features in the game. The main one is the ability to create your own assassin group and have them appear out of thin air to attack your opponents for you. This is a great new weapon in your arsenal and allows for a lot more help when you may have gotten yourself in a rough patch.
Among the new features is the ability to take back Rome. In Assassin’s Creed II there were towers that you could climb and when you got to the top you could synchronize with the area, giving you the map for the places surrounding the building. In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood many of those buildings and the surrounding area are under enemy control. It is your job to kill the leader of the area and then climb to the top of the building and ignite it. Once that is done the surrounding area is now unlocked and you can buy places. One of the more handy features you can buy is an assassin spot which allows you to transport anywhere you have also bought a transport. You can also buy shops, like blacksmiths, banks, art shops, and tailors. When you unlock an area you can buy and fix many buildings or historical landmarks. All of these shops, stores, and locations you can buy give you more money every 20 minutes and that amount goes into your bank. These stores not only bring in more money but they also give you quests to complete in order to get more items like armor. These quests are simply finding items that can be found in a box or on someone’s body after you have killed them. As you can tell there are some different ways to do things, but the gameplay is the same as Assassin’s Creed II.
The great thing about this game is not what it changes, but what it adds. The single player is given more side missions and things to do after the main missions have been beaten as well as a training mode. This training mode can be incredibly fun. If you are familiar with Batman Arkham Asylum the game mode is much like Batman’s challenge mode. You are put in a situation where you either have to sneak around without being caught and are timed or you are fighting waves of enemies and seeing how far you can go without being hit. Both are great challenges and fun to have a competition on the leaderboards with friends. These are great additions to the game but the new mode that really shines is the multiplayer.
It would be very easy to think that a game like Assassin’s Creed having multiplayer would be something tacked on to the game, something that doesn’t even feel finished, surprisingly Brotherhood has some of the most innovative multiplayer I have experienced in a long time. In the main gametype for multiplayer, wanted, you are an assassin going against 5-7 other assassins all with a different character. Each character that a person picks gets many A.I. of the same character that roam around the map. The A.I. is very good at acting like it is a player trying to hide and players can be really good at acting like they are A.I. This can lead to some great moments where someone comes behind you and kills your character’s A.I. and misses you. After each person has picked their character they are told who their target is and given a compass that points you in the general direction of the assassin. You then have to find the best way to reach your target without being detected by your pursuer. Hiding from a pursuer involves things like getting into groups with an A.I. of the same character, going into a hiding spot like a stack of hay. You can also use some special abilities that you get from leveling up, one of the abilities is to disguise yourself as a different character for a limited amount of time, and after you use it there is a cool down time that lasts a considerate amount of length. Other abilities include a hidden gun, resetting your cool down time and increasing your accuracy if you die several times. Dying several times and getting an ability is not the only way they try to balance the system, they also give the assassins in the higher positions more people after them and the people who are on the bottom none, allowing the person on the bottom to run around without having to worry about being assassinated. Multiplayer also features several gametypes. In manhunt you have 2 rounds and you are in 2 teams of 4 and have to kill the opposing team, in alliance you are in a team of 2 with 3 teams and you have to kill a team that isn’t trying to kill you and you are being hunted by another team that you are not hunting. The multiplayer can provide hours of fun and gives the game so much more value than what the last two have given.
Because Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood adds more to everything but the gameplay, itself, the game still has some problems. The worst and most obvious thing about this game is the controls. The game for the most part controls great, and if you play for maybe 30 minutes you might not notice the problem with them but like the Assassin’s Creeds before it Brotherhood still has that problem where you might be free running and you want to go forward but for whatever reason your guy jumps to the left and you are left out on the street and have to get your way back to the top. This happens a little too often but when you are dealing with a free running scheme that is feels so elaborate a few hiccups here and there seem inevitable. I just hope that in the next Assassin’s Creed game we find a more accurate system. The multiplayer, while definitely solid, has some problems mostly with being online. The game has a hard time finding matches occasionally and doesn’t support host migration so if the host quits you will be cut off from the game.
Final Word: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is an improvement to the franchise in every way taking no steps back in any part of the game. For some the game might be a little too close to the last one but if you enjoyed the last one there should be no reason to hate this one. The multiplayer is really where this game becomes a full package. I would recommend that most people who are into Batman or the Splinter Cell games go rent this game and you may easily fall in love with the multiplayer, as well as anyone who is a fan of the Assassin’s Creed series.